“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Kurds concerned about US intentions. Need they be concerned? Ahem..

The first time I heard Glenn Beck use the expression of having to duct tape his head on, and using it with the ripping sound of the unraveling tape, I laughed out loud. I found it amusing for some time as I did the broadcast genius of Glenn Beck. Unfortunately, Beck's ego took him to television and CNN and that has faded my interest in him. But I still love the duct tape.

Duct tape is useful and fun in an American red neck sort of way. If I were putting a time capsule together, duct tape would go in there as well as a can of spam. They both make me smile. We live in a "duct taped on head" world. It is the perfect metaphor for keeping it all together. It seems as if duct tape may be needed by some concerned Kurds.

'Don't sell us out,' Iraqi Kurds tell US Turkish Daily News

Friday, December 22, 2006


WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

Worried by recommendations in a bipartisan U.S. group's report that Washington should engage in serious talks with Iraq's neighbors over the war-torn country's future and that a planned 2007 referendum for the oil-rich city of Kirkuk should be postponed, Iraqi Kurds have urged U.S. President George W. Bush not to "sell us out."

"Once again Kurds are about to be sold out. Should the U.S. administration adopt the recommendations of Baker-Hamilton, the Kurds will be sacrificed to protect the interests of Iraq's neighbors," said Masrour Barzani, director of the intelligence and security agency of the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq, in an opinion article in The Washington Post on Wednesday. "We were massacred in 1975 and 1991 by Saddam Hussein because we thought that our commitment to democracy and tolerance made us natural U.S. allies."

He was referring to the Dec. 6 report by the Iraq Study Group, led by former secretary of state James Baker, a Republican, and former lawmaker Lee Hamilton, a Democrat. Among other things, including a recommendation for the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by early 2008, the report called on Bush to involve Iran and Syria in Iraq-related talks.

Bush is rejecting both proposals, but Iraqi Kurds are not so sure.

"Don't sell us out to our authoritarian neighbors and those who are terrorizing our communities," Barzani said. "We Kurds are asking President Bush and America to remember the sacrifices we have made to keep your loved ones safe in Iraq. We are asking you to keep a promise where those before you have failed."

Earlier Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and Massoud Barzani, Masrour Barzani's relative and leader of the Kurdistan regional government in the north, also blasted the Baker-Hamilton report.

"To call upon Iraq's neighbors, which have chosen Iraq as a place to fight the United States, is a grave mistake. Seeking their participation would inevitably backfire," Masrour Barzani said.

"They would not only contribute to the instability within the country but would implement agendas in direct contradiction to America's occupation goals," he said.

The Iraqi Study Group suggested delaying implementing a constitutional article calling for a controversial referendum to decide the future of Kirkuk, a tense mix of ethnic groups. It warned that the referendum, if held next year, could lead to violent clashes and a regional conflict.

Iraqi Kurds view Kirkuk, which sits on nearly 40 percent of the country's oil, as capital of a future Kurdistan. In addition to Kurds, Kirkuk is home to Sunni Arabs, Turkmen and Christians, and all non-Kurdish groups seek a special status for the strategically important area.

But in the wake of an exodus of more than 100,000 Kurds into Kirkuk following the 2003 Iraq war, Kurds -- Washington's closest allies in the war-torn country -- are looking forward to next year's planned referendum to formalize the area's inclusion in their region. Turkey and Sunni Arabs and Turkmen have all warned that the referendum, if conducted, could turn the region into a bloodbath.

Masrour Barzani called on the Bush administration to continue with the plans to hold the Kirkuk referendum next year despite objections.

"Iraq's constitution should be treasured. Iraq's neighbors should not be allowed to violate our sovereignty," he said. "It is true we fly Kurdish flags. This is yet another similarity we have with Americans, who are proud not only of their country but also of the accomplishments and unique identities of their states," he added.


  1. Rufus is right. This announcement should shiver an Iranian spine or two:

    "ABC News said Bush was expected to nominate Adm. William Fallon, the top U.S. military commander in the Pacific, to replace Gen. John Abizaid as the head of U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."

  2. affirmative action for the navy kind of thing, sort of a new-age act of inclusion. I'm hip. Actually anyone who says I'm hip, probably aptly demonstrates they are not.

  3. by the way partner, nice thread and post on "power."

  4. So, Fallon was learning about Tribal Cultures by inviting Chicom Spies to check out our Aegis Destroyers and the Nuke Sub Crown Jewels?
    ...reporting from the Pacific.

  5. From attached links, I think the Kurds are on board and perhaps they will receive a proper reward. How does one make the links connect directly? Also is it possible to attach pdf files to a comment? Sorry, I am fairly ignorant concerning these issues.

  6. Didn't work from previous post. How about one of the articles directy...

    Behind the increasingly shrill rhetoric and saber rattling over Iran’s nuclear ambitions America and Israel are engaged in a secret war against Iran that has echoes of the years when the CIA supported the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet Union.

    This time, the United States and Israel are running covert operations with the help of Kurdish militias and rebel Iranian fighters. For some observers, training and arming Islamic fighters smacks of the days of Soviet rule in Afghanistan.

    Then, the Soviet army, which was the second most powerful military in the world, was defeated by Islamic militants, including men like Osama bin Laden.

    Now the U.S. military, with Israeli commandos lending a hand, is arming and secretly training a different breed of mujahideen, or Islamic fighters—Kurdish militias with links to ethnic Kurdish communities in Iran and Syria, and fighters from the Iranian Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), which has bases in southern Iraq and has provided the United States with information about the Iranian military and Iran’s nuclear sites.

    From the perspective of Washington and Tel Aviv, the history of the Kurds makes them ideal recruits for a covert war against Iran and Syria.

    During and after Saddam Hussein’s rule, the Kurds of northern Iraq longed for an independent Kurdistan. When the so-called “no-fly zone” was in place over Iraq, the Kurds had protection from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. allies. That enabled them to build a large militia force and to develop a burgeoning economy.

    But, since the fall of Saddam the Kurds have become disillusioned with the country’s slide into chaos and have hinted that they would be happy to see Iraq divided into three parts. In that event, they would establish an autonomous region called Kurdistan and the rich northern oil fields of Kirkuk would ensure their prosperity for decades to come.

    Not everyone favors creation of an independent Kurdistan. The Turks, Iranians and Syrians are united in a belief that it would generate instability by encouraging large ethnic Kurdish communities in their countries to demand separation and an alignment with Iraq’s Kurds.

    In the 20th century ethnic Kurdish demands for autonomy led to more than 30,000 of them being slaughtered by the Turks. In Iran, they were brutally suppressed in three provinces they dominated.

    As part of a covert scheme to destabilize and soften up the Iranian regime for possible Special Forces attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities, Washington has turned to disaffected Iranian Kurds for help and to Iranian dissidents in the MEK.

    Using fighters trained by the United States in secret bases in southern Iraq, the MEK has carried out a series of attacks in Iran. In recent months, there has been increasing instability inside three Iranian provinces dominated by Kurds, as well as attacks on Iranian troops near the border with Iraq. A Kurdish guerrilla group claimed responsibility for two of the attacks, saying they were in retaliation for Iranian shelling into Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.

    New York journalist Seymour Hersh claimed in December 2005 that U.S. combat troops were already in Iran. Following that report, there was an incident near the Iran-Iraq border in January when an Iranian military cargo plane carrying 10 top Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders mysteriously crashed. Later, there were rumors it was brought down by U.S. Special Forces within Iran.

    In April 2006, Iran said it shot down a U.S. surveillance drone flying over the country. Israel has been running its own black operations with the help of Kurds it has trained. The Kurds reportedly have strong ties to Israel because it supports the creation of an independent Kurdistan. From an Israeli perspective, such an entity would provide Israel with an ally in a region in which it is totally isolated and would keep Iraq destabilized.

    It was Israel’s neo-con friends in Washington who once believed a new Iraq would be Israel’s best ally, but the more that vision has turned to nightmare, the more Israel has looked to the creation of a separate Kurdish state in Iraq as the next best thing.

    Israel’s relationship with the Kurds goes back a long way. During the Iran-Iraq war, the Israelis supplied the Kurds with weapons to attack Saddam Hussein’s forces. Then, after the first Gulf War, when the United States and its allies abandoned the Kurds, Israel continued to provide them with weapons and training.

    To that end, Israeli special forces and Mossad have been training and recruiting Kurds for clandestine operations and surveillance in Iran and Syria. The advantage of having Kurdish fighters carry out operations is that they can easily blend into ethnic Kurdish communities and sow dissent.

    They can also recruit rebel elements and build bases for future operations. Kurdish militiamen and fighters from the MEK are seen by Israel as ideal insurgents.

  7. Whether horseshit or bullshit, the Kurds believe it.

  8. trish,

    re: Kurds

    There are thousands of potential internet hits saying just that. For instance, at Yahoo, the search "Kurds abandoned 1991" yeilds 138,000 links. For what ever it is worth, the president of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, Barzani, said the same last week.

    What is your problem with Bush "41" having left the Kurds and Shi'a to the tender mercy of Saddam? Certainly, the "No Fly" policy was eventually appreciated, but for the hundreds of thousands of dead, it mattered not a whit.

  9. There are many unknown variables with regards to a future conflict with Iran and its proxies. Depending on the intensity of the conflict, and I believe it will be intense (meaning total war) I would not underestimate the Pehmerga.

    "The Kurds are not a significant threat to the regime - hence the regime doesn't rise to the alleged bait."

    Conservative estimates of the Peshmerga are tens of thousands up to a force of 100,000.
    They are armed with main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles,
    armored personnel carriers, and artillery (both self propelled and towed artillery). Moreover, they have received training from both U.S. and Israeli forces and backed by U.S air assets, are a formidable force for both the Syrians and Iranians.

    "The promise of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq, however, means the out-migration of a disaffected minority from Iran and Syria, which the Iranians and Syrians wouldn't mind."

    There is a sizable population of Kurds in northern Syria, Iraq, and Iran. If these regimes (Iran and Syria) fall, who is to say "Kurdistan" will be limited to Iraq?

    DR stated in a previous that Hezzie operatives are among us and may strike during this conflict. He is correct. Perhaps the country will soon learn the wisdom of the founding fathers and the importance of an armed citizenry.

  10. elijah,

    25% of the Turkish population is Kurdish. The Kurds may be big news, indeed.